Blues fan Oastler aims to topple Pompey

Joe Oastler. Picture: Aldershot News & Mail
Joe Oastler. Picture: Aldershot News & Mail

The walk is 15 minutes from Joe Oastler’s Milton home to Fratton Park.

It’s a distance he most recently negotiated 17 days ago when cheering on Pompey from the South Stand during their 3-2 victory over Stevenage.

On Sunday, however, he will be expected to catch the coach to the ground. After all, he is part of Aldershot’s team.

The 24-year-old will be among the Shots side taking on the Blues in the first round of the FA Cup.

Having been an ever-present for Andy Scott’s outfit this season, the centre-back is poised to achieve a lifelong dream and play a competitive match at Fratton.

Oastler was once on the Blues’ books, part of the same July 2006 school of excellence intake as Matt Ritchie and Joel Ward.

But having been released in March 2008, he went on to represent QPR, Torquay and – since the summer of 2013 – Aldershot.

Now he is set to face the home-town team he still occasionally goes along to support when the fixture calendar permits.

He said: ‘For me, drawing Pompey is perfect and the fact it is being held at Fratton Park is the icing on the cake.

‘I have been involved in big games before but it is every boy’s dream to play at their home-town club so obviously this is massively exciting for me.

‘I’ve played there for Pompey’s reserves a few times and in school cup finals but never competitively, though. They have always been in higher divisions.

‘Obviously I don’t get to many games these days as I am playing myself.

‘Besides, as I’ve got older my support for them has died a little but I will always be a Pompey fan and still watch the results.

‘All the youth team went to the 2008 FA Cup final, while I went with some mates to watch the 2010 FA Cup final – at that time I was with QPR’s under-21s.

‘The other day me and some mates went to the Stevenage midweek game.

‘You support them when you can do and I got a few tickets off Webby (Adam Webster) for the South Stand.

‘My house is only the other side of Milton Park, although on Sunday I might have to meet up with the team coach outside the city to travel to the ground rather than walk there!

‘To be fair, it is only right we all come in together rather than arriving in dribs and drabs.

‘I may end up walking home afterwards, though, it depends how I am feeling.

‘Although I don’t particularly want to walk past the pubs such as Shepherds Crook, the Milton Arms and Mr Pickwick but I am sure it will all be good natured!’

Oastler made two appearances at QPR before spending three years at Torquay, playing 122 times.

He has now made 57 appearances for the Shots – but his next one will be his most prized as they bid to pull off a shock.

He added: ‘We are 15th but our performances have warranted more than we have got.

‘I know it’s a cliché but we have not really got what we have deserved and performed well in the last couple of weeks and everyone is relishing this match.

‘We definitely want to go and give a good account of ourselves and will be concentrating on playing well in the game rather than letting the occasion get to us.

‘We believe we can go there and do well.’